RCHS Quiz Bowl team is fifth as tourney begins

In Bull Run District play, Rappahannock County High School’s Quiz Bowl team traveled to William Monroe High School for a Jan. 18 meet.

“Our first match was against Central Woodstock,” coach Dave Naser said, “and we jumped to an early lead of 80-30. Zach Huff was responsible for 50 of those 80 points. The directed round was close, but we once again dominated Round Three with contributions from: Trevor Achilles, Clayton Hatcher (captain), and Davis Sheffield.” The final score: Panthers on top, 195-105.

In the second match against Madison, the Mountaineers leapt to a Round One early lead. They followed up with answers to eight directed questions, in comparison to Rappahannock’s four. “In Round Three, Achilles and Hatcher each scored 20 points in the first five questions, but Madison scored on nine of the 10 remaining questions for a score of 100-35 in the round.” Final match outcome brought the first Panther loss of the evening, 235-110.

Rappahannock’s third match found them facing Strasburg. “It was close throughout,” Naser said. “Achilles, Hatcher, Huff and Nich Hipple all scored in the first round to lead 50-40. But, despite Hipple’s best round, the lead disappeared with the combination of Strasburg edging us in Round Two with three negative-five penalties, which they converted on in Round Three.” The final match score reflected the Panthers’ final loss of the evening: 175-135.

“At the end of the night,” Naser said, “our season record was fifth in the Bull Run District. That causes us to face Madison in Round One of the District Tournament.”

That first round of the Bull Run District tournament starts at 4 p.m. today (Thursday, Jan. 26) at RCHS. The top two teams from the evening will advance to regional play Feb. 4 in Luray.

Boys basketball bested by Clarke

In their only home game of the week, Panther boys basketball fell to Clarke County, 76-33.

With a strong start to the first half, Rappahannock executed some winning moves. “At the end of the second period there were seven seconds left,” Brian Baumgardner said.  “I wasn’t really paying attention, and I turned around because Bradlee [Frye] yelled at me. The ball was right in my face, and I barely caught it. Out of reflex, I shot it. It went in with two seconds left. It was a three pointer, too!

Baumgardner and the team felt the post-halftime pressure. “Third period, I was frustrated because I wasn’t playing good at all,” he said. “I made no points that quarter, and that made me mad.

“Coach has a new strategy about putting a new team in every two minutes,” Baumgardner said. “It works well because we have different offenses and defenses each time. It puts fresh people out, and we don’t get as tired.

“Overall, our offense and defense is good, but we need to step it up. Most of the opponents’ points are pass breaks, so we need to work on passing. The team works well together, just got to get that pass game better, and work on our chemistry.”

Coach Terrence Johnson maintained his season theme: “Fundamentals are our focus.”

Panthers travel to Madison tonight (Jan. 26) to face the Mountaineers. Tip-off time is 7 p.m.

Girls basketball also falls to Clarke

Lady Panther basketball players hosted Clarke County on Tuesday night (Jan. 24) and succumbed to the Eagles offensive push, 53-18.

Captain Lauren Light, who suffered a busted lower lip in the game but led her team with 11 total points, saw this competition as a sign of Panther improvement. “We went out there knowing it was going to be a challenging game. Last time we played them, we lost badly.” In fact, Rappahannock fell 71-8 in the game Light referenced.

“We started a 2-3 defense trying to intercept the ball – steal it,” Light said. “We did that because they have a really good point guard. Neither of their outside shooters are consistent, so we were trying to shut down their shots. They pressed us the entire time in the first half, and at times we beat their press.”

As Panther defense shined, their offense gave way. “There were too many turnovers on our side,” Light said. “That messed us up. On offense, our first half was very slow because Clarke was in man defense the entire time. We couldn’t catch a break. It was frustrating, and we started making silly fouls.

“At half time,” she said, “coach complimented us on our aggressive play and encouraged us to think about the game as a team building opportunity – to communicate more with each other and to continue to run the plays through. We went back out with less of an offensive attitude and focused on our defense – shifted our focus. We started getting steals. I had two quick jumpers that went in! That kind of got the ball rolling. Maddie [Kopjanski] started making a shots and taking picks. Once we started focusing on defense, we knew we were ready to come back with them.

“It’s all really a mind game,” Light said. “People don’t understand what heart it takes to play a sport in a season like this. You put your all into it, but still lose games. The end of the game was really gratifying at the end, especially as a team. We really improved and focused on things other than winning.”

Lady Panthers host the Madison Mountaineers tonight (Jan. 26) at 7 p.m.

Wakefield: college acceptances and athletics

Wakefield Country Day School announces the following college acceptances and scholarship offers for the 12 members of its Senior class: Amanda Carroll, Rochester Institute of Technology (early decision); Austen Cloud, Indiana University; Greg Czekaj, College of Charleston and University of South Carolina; Daniel Larner, Xavier University ($36,000 scholarship); Will Mullany, Tulane University, Loyola College in New Orleans, Indiana University and James Madison University (early action); Michael O’Heir, Xavier University ($56,000 scholarship); Michael Pearson, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University ($52,000 scholarship) and James Madison University (early action); and Brian Shafran, Randolph-Macon College ($64,000 Presidential Scholarship and has been accepted into the Honors program). Total merit scholarship offers and grants to date are $208,000.

In junior varsity boys basketball, the Owls played their first game at home against Saint Michael the Archangel High School on Jan. 17. The Owls held a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 23-12 lead at halftime. Alex Foster led the way in the first half, scoring 17 points and controlling the lane. Tim Johns added six points in the half. The hosts scored 10 points in each of the final two quarters to hold off the Warriors’ late rally and win the game 43-38. Foster scored another 16 points in the second half to lead all scorers with 33 points. Sean Brown and Jerry Li also scored in the game.

In varsity girls basketball, the Lady Owls hosted Foxcroft School in a Delaney Athletic Conference game on Jan. 12. The hosts attacked the basket and played tough defense to earn a 17-6 halftime lead.  It was 24-10 by the end of the third quarter, and a solid fourth quarter led to a 30-17 win. Sydney Penza led the team with 13 rebounds. Maeve Dale led the team in scoring with 16 points, and pulled down 8 rebounds. Kim Pankow had six points and six steals. The Lady Owls then hosted Saint Michael the Archangel High School in a conference game on Jan. 17. They forged a 9-4 lead at the end of the first quarter over the Warriors and led 16-8 at the half. In the third quarter, the hosts scored 19 points, a season high. This led to a 49-20 conference victory. Dale had a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, plus five steals. Pankow scored a career-high 16 points, including her first-ever 3-point basket. She had six steals, as did Penza. Mary Leskovec scored the first basket of her varsity career to go with three rebounds. The team’s record is 7-2 on the season and 3-1 in the conference.

In varsity boys basketball, the Owls hosted Fresta Valley Christian School in non-conference play on Jan. 12. They jumped out to a 12-point lead by the end of the first quarter. They doubled their lead by halftime and added a strong 14-point third quarter to lead 47-13. The final score was 50-20. Alex Foster led three players in double-figure scoring with 13 points. Greg Czekaj scored 11 points, and Daniel Chadduck added 10 points and four steals. Mazime Manzi and Foster each had seven rebounds. Brian Shafran led the team with five assists. The following players also scored in the game: Manzi, Alex Harris, Shafran and Tim Johns. The team’s record is 2-0 in the conference and 6-2 overall.

In varsity swimming, the Owls swimmers competed in a meet at Saint Michael’s in Fredericksburg on Jan. 14. The boys team finished the massive dual meet 3-3 – beating Highland, Middleburg Academy and Wakefield School. The other teams competing were Bishop Ireton, Saint Michael’s and Seton School. With only three eligible girls swimmers and no relay teams, the girls finished 0-6, with two of those losses coming by a combined 32 points. Top performances included Rachel Dumez (first in 200 IM and 100 Back), Conor O’Heir (second in 200 Free and 100 Back), Michael O’Heir (third in 50 Free and 100 Breast). Other swimmers earning points were Anne Katherine Burns, Shane O’Heir, Shane Glennon, and Will Scaring. Michael Chen contributed to a scoring relay team.